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Conference Highlights Healthcare Deficiencies For People With Intellectual Disability

6 June 2013

Deficiencies in healthcare and inadequate health promotion are just two of the causes of health inequalities for people with intellectual disability, it was revealed today.

The Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) ‘Health Inequalities and Health Improvements’ conference at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown, brought together a range of academics; researchers; policy planners; commissioners; service providers and staff, as well as family carers from across the UK and beyond.

The symposium, organised by the RSM’s Intellectual Disability Forum, aimed to disseminate the most-up-to date evidence regarding the health status and health inequalities of people with intellectual disabilities.

Delegates heard from a number of high-profile speakers during the one-day event and participated in a series of workshops on issues including, health promotion, encouraging a healthy lifestyle and developing a diabetes structured education programme.

The day also featured a discussion with an invited panel who provided exemplars of innovative practice regarding health promotion for people with intellectual disabilities.

Conference organiser, Dr Laurence Taggart, from the University of Ulster’s School of Nursing, said: “People of all ages who have an intellectual disability suffer from a shorter life expectancy.

“Also, secondary health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes are three times more likely in this population and are poorly managed.

“This shorter life expectancy and many causes of secondary health conditions could be prevented.

“Research has shown that problems in accessing timely, appropriate and effective healthcare, communication difficulties and limited health promotion and screening opportunities, are a major problem for people with intellectual disability.

“By bringing together professionals and carers, today’s conference allowed the sharing of evidence and highlighted exemplars of best practice regarding health promotion.

“The conference has created a forum for sharing, debate and discussion around ways to alleviate health inequalities for people with intellectual disability.”

Notes to Editors:

The Royal Society of Medicine is one of the country's major providers of postgraduate medical education for doctors, dentists, vets and other health professionals.

As well as providing education, the Society aims to promote an exchange of information and ideas on the science, practice and organisation of medicine, both within the health professions and with responsible and informed public opinion.

The Society is not a policy-making body and does not issue guidelines or standards of care.

It has nearly 60 Sections which each provide a multi-disciplinary forum for discussion and debate. Sections cover disciplines as diverse as medical genetics and clinical hypnosis.

Over 400 academic and public meetings are held at the RSM every year. The Society's library is the second largest postgraduate medical library in the world.

For further information about the RSM please contact Rosalind Dewar at the Royal Society of Medicine Media Office:

T: 01580 764713. E: